Kim Petras is releasing bop after bop, making Halloween-themed EPs and wearing a trans flag outfit while she performs at Pride. She’s America’s first trans pop star and one of our favorite young, but still every time I listen to her music, I wish she wasn’t collaborating with Dr. Luke (née Lukasz Gottwald), the Swedish producer who “allegedly” abused Kesha.
The 27-year-old German singer has released two albums: Clarity and the halloween-themed Turn Off The Light, both of which are filled with songs produced by Dr. Luke. She’s talked extensively about dealing with transphobia in the music industry, and that could explain why she feels like she has no choice but to work with someone who reportedly sexually and mentally abused Kesha for years.
But fans of sparkling pop jams can only ignore the continued collaborations for so long. Petras just released a new video for the single “Icy” (again, produced by Dr. Luke), and while I want to love it, I can’t forget that he’s behind it — and that buying it supports him as well as her.
If you find yourself in the same conundrum, here’s a list of guilt-free Kim Petras bops that are in no way associated with Dr. Luke.
“Love Me Less” by MAX (feat. Kim Petras)
For this remix of his song “Love Me Less” — which features rapper Quinn XCII — rising pop star MAX brought Petras in to add a woman’s perspective. The bouncy song is all about being afraid of being judged for your past by a partner. The song is great, and Petras brings her typical princess attitude to her verse, singing “would you love me less/if I spent your cash/on designer bags/on a trip to France?”
If you want to listen to 2017’s “I Don’t Want It At All” but can’t bring yourself to click that play button, this is a great Dr. Luke-less option.
“Feeling of Falling” by Cheat Codes and Kim Petras
Now this is a real banger. I honestly don’t understand why it’s not Kim’s biggest hit. Electronic trio Cheat Codes has produced major smashes with Demi Lovato, Little Mix, and Maggie Lindemann, and they should’ve had another one with this Petras collaboration. Petras is given space to shine on a fun dance track, with an infectious hook (“I hate the feeling of falling in love”) and Cheat Codes’ classic electro-pop production. It’s impossible not to sing along.
“Unlock It” by Charli XCX (feat. Kim Petras and Jay Park)
Thank God for Charli. The superstar singer/collaborator has worked with Petras twice, and it looks like the two aren’t done. On their first song together, from Charli’s 2017 album Pop 2, Kim and Charli bring Korean-American rapper Jay Park along with them on a journey through lush soundscapes and a repetitive but fun (!!) chorus.
“Click (No Boys Remix)” by Charli XCX (feat. Kim Petras and Slayyyter)
The second collaboration between Petras and Charli XCX, “Click” comes from the latter’s latest release, Charli. This is easily my favorite Kim Petras song. The album version actually features Tommy Cash, but Charli knows her fans and knows we would love an all-girl remix. She’s right — we do! “Cheers with a glass like click/cash register goes click/you can’t fuck with my clique,” they sing, making an anthem for trans-inclusive girl gangs everywhere.
“Human” by Kim Petras (Recorded at Spotify Studios NYC)
This is an acoustic cover of the classic, if lyrically befuddling Killers track. If you want to hear Petras really get to show off her singing chops, you won’t have a better chance than this. With just her vocals and an acoustic guitar, Petras is able to show that she’s not just flash and fashion — she also has the voice to be a queen of pop.
“How It’s Done” by Kash Doll, Kim Petras, ALMA, and Stefflon Don
Kim got a chance to be on the second single released from the new Charlie’s Angels soundtrack, and she did not squander the chance at all. With a killer horn sample and an amped up and aggressive sound, this is something new for Petras. She sings the earworm hook on this song filled with talented women, and this song could definitely launch her into a flourishing career where she doesn’t need Dr. Luke anymore.